July 22, 2016

sarah palin voting

Voting. Credit: Sarah Pac / Flickr Creative Commons

These days, it seems like a Clinton and Trump supporter can’t sit in the same room—and there is data to back that up.

In 1994, 16 percent of Democrats said they didn’t feel good about Republicans. Now that number has doubled. And Republicans feel the same way about Democrats.

Paul Taylor, the former Executive Vice President of the Pew Research Center, and the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown, says that American politics are becoming “hyper-partisan”, and lot of it has to do with identity-based politics.

Taylor argues our politics are now more aligned with our identities, like race, ethnicity, and age. On top of that, “we are in a moment now where partisans no longer stop at disagreeing with each others ideas. Increasingly they deny each other’s facts, they disapprove of each other’s lifestyles, they stay out of each other’s neighborhoods, they refute each other’s motives, they doubt each other’s patriotism, and they can’t stomach each other’s news sources.”

And this partisanship extends beyond our elections.

“Like attracts like... People are finding like-minded people, not just in the online world, but in the physical world,” Taylor says.

This is seen in the way we are organizing ourselves so we don’t have to live with or work with people who don’t agree with us politically.

There is data to back this up. There was a huge increase in landslide counties—counties where more than 60 percent of the vote went to one candidate—between 1976 (the Carter/Ford election) and 2012 (the Obama/Romney election). In 1976, only 25 percent of counties were landslide counties. In 2012, that number rose to around 50 percent.

So what does this mean?

Well, for one thing, when politicians talk about voting blocs, they are on to something. And if you want to canvass for your favorite candidate, maybe go to the next county over.

Paul Taylor, politics, Kara Miller

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